Posts Categorized: Opinion

Prior approval – again






We recognise that we might be going on a bit about the shortcomings of the prior approval regime……but we’re not stopping. Here is another daft outcome.

A planning authority in Yorkshire refused prior approval for a householder extension on the basis that development had already commenced and therefore could not benefit from the prior approval process (DCS Number 400-011-347). At appeal, an inspector recognised that there is no provision in the GPDO for a retrospective application for prior approval. The appellant stated, however, that the existing extension would be demolished. On that basis the inspector decided that the application related to a proposal for a new development and allowed the appeal.

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Rules is rules






There is sometimes uncertainty about whether it is required or permissible to provide an inspector with updated information. A recent court case, Robinson v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 22/1/16, provides a steer in respect of housing land supply figures, but is it in the right direction?

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What difference does it make?






Two recent cases have set the team wondering about the rationale behind the wording of the GPDO.

In (DCS Number 400-010-438) permission for the residential conversion of a building in Devon under Class P, Part 3, Schedule 2 of the GPDO was denied because it had not been used solely for a storage or distribution centre use. The inspector noted that the building was being utilised for storage purposes in connection with the appellant’s own business, for paid storage purposes by others, and for some minor domestic storage. He held that some of those purposes, such as the storage paid for by others, could be said to fall within Use Class B8. However, other purposes were connected to the appellant’s permaculture activities on the wider site. This would not fall under the ambit of Use Class B8, but was storage which was ancillary to the primary use of the site for the purposes of permaculture. The building was therefore being used for a mixture of purposes and the conversion was not one that is permitted by Class P of the 2015 Order.

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The perils of good neighbourliness






An appellant in Middlesex found himself with an unlawful extension after falling foul of the prior application procedure regulations (DCS Number 200-004-604).

The appellant proposed a 6m deep single storey extension to his semi-detached house under the prior application procedure and no objections were received from neighbours. A No Objection response was issued by default once 42 days had elapsed, an inspector recorded, and was therefore permitted development. The appellant then started to build the extension but a neighbour raised a concern about its position in relation to their shared access. Accordingly, the appellant decided to set in part of the side wall of the extension adjacent to the shared drive by some 600mm for a distance of 2.84m from the end elevation. In addition, the internal arrangement was altered, and a window was omitted from the end elevation and was instead inserted into the side elevation facing the shared access. In order to regularize the development the appellant then submitted an application for a certificate of lawful development.

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This case further illustrates the need for plain English






Outline permission for up to 90 dwellings on the edge of a town in Staffordshire was rejected, the inspector finding that it would have a significant adverse effect on the setting of a conservation area and that this would materially harm the conservation area’s significance (DCS Number 200-004-537). He agreed with both main parties that the resulting effect would amount to less than substantial harm in the terms of the Framework. However, a finding of less than substantial harm, he explained, should not be equated with a less than substantial planning objection.

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